Here’s how to watch SpaceX’s Dragon take off for the space station

Here’s how to watch SpaceX’s Dragon take off for the space station

The rocket was initially meant to take off Tuesday, but was delayed for a day after engineers discovered moldy mouse food in one of the science investigations created to study the effect of microgravity on the immune system.

The mission is SpaceX's 16th for Nasa as part of a long-term contract to ferry supplies to space. On Tuesday, mold was found on food bars for an experiment on the ISS involving about 40 mice that was set to analyze how space and aging relate.

The rocket took off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 1:16 p.m. local time, a little more than 48 hours after SpaceX sent another Falcon 9 to space from the West Coast on Monday. The mice are among the last to be loaded into the space capsule before liftoff.

Meanwhile, the Dragon spacecraft continues on its way to the space station, carrying fresh mouse food; new science and engineering experiments; and plenty of other goodies.

- Three days and 3,000 miles apart, SpaceX is aiming for their second launch this week, this time with a cargo flight to the space station. The company expects to start launching station crews next year. Its ride to orbit was trouble-free, and it's scheduled to rendezvous with the station on Saturday for a monthlong stay.

On top of that, the mission was performed using one of SpaceX's used (sorry, "flight proven") rockets, and its subsequent landing made it the first rocket to be launched and landed three times. He once famously described the disastrous crash of an early Falcon 9 booster as "rapid unscheduled disassembly".

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Hypersonic grid fins help the booster steer its way back for a precision touchdown.

SpaceX's vice president of mission assurance, Hans Koenigsmann, said the booster was programmed to fly itself into the sea if it experienced loss of control.

"The vehicle kept well away from anything where it could pose even the slightest risk to population and property", he said during a post-launch briefing.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 makes a splashdown after having problems approaching its planned landing zone.

"Public safety was well protected here", he told reporters. The company's next launch, of the first Global Positioning System 3 satellite for the U.S. Air Force, is scheduled for no earlier than December 18, followed by the launch of the final 10 Iridium Next satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California no earlier than December 30. During that mission, 64 satellites were successfully deployed in sun-synchronous orbit for the customers of Seattle-based Spaceflight, which handled pre-launch arrangements.

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